Lalu Prasad arrives in Patna after nine months, meets Nitish Kumar

The RJD supremo is expected to hold a series of meetings during his week-long stay

April 28, 2023 05:53 pm | Updated April 29, 2023 08:07 am IST - Patna

RJD Chief Lalu Prasad with Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar at his residence, in Patna, on April 28, 2023.

RJD Chief Lalu Prasad with Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar at his residence, in Patna, on April 28, 2023. | Photo Credit: PTI

RJD workers and supporters looked charged up on the day when party supremo Lalu Prasad reached Patna after a gap of nine months. RJD MLAs made a beeline to meet the party supremo at 10, Circular Road residence, the official residence of former Chief Minister Rabri Devi.

Mr. Prasad will be in Patna for the next one week before going to Singapore for a post-kidney transplant check-up. Sources said that during his stay in Patna, he is likely to hold a series of meetings apart from the one with the grand alliance.

Later in the evening, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar also visited the Circular Road residence to meet Mr. Prasad and Mr. Yadav. In the closed-door meeting that followed, Finance Minister Vijay Kumar Choudhary was also present. However, Nitish did not speak to the media after the meeting.

Sources said that Mr. Prasad appreciated the Chief Minister for taking the lead in uniting the Opposition and assured him that he will extend all his support wherever required. It is believed that Mr. Prasad played a pivotal role in Mr. Kumar’s meeting with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav.

Mr. Prasad’s arrival caused quite a stir in the city. He landed in Patna airport at 3:20 p.m., along with his younger son and Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Prasad Yadav. From the airport, he directly went to the residence, where he was welcomed with slogans such as “Lalu Yadav jindabad” and “Bihar ka sher laut aaya (Bihar’s lion has returned)”.

Satendra Kumar Rai (70), an ardent supporter of the leader, had reached there by riding a bicycle all the way from Hajipur in Vaishali district, covering a distance of 30 km. “I have formed my party called Lalu Sena and visit wherever Lalu ji goes. For me, he is god and I cannot return without meeting him.”

Mr. Rai’s bicycle sported several wooden planks bearing the messages like “Lalu nahi yah andhi hai” and “Yah desh ka dusra Gandhi hai”. A bamboo pole, bearing the party flag and a lalten (hurricane lamp), completed the cycle.

Mr. Prasad’s visit had drawn out other such hardcore supporters as well. One man was seen holding a framed photo of the party leader while waiting to greet him. “I have just come here to enquire about the health of Lalu ji and extend my best wishes to him. He is the messiah of poor people who gave voice to the downtrodden in society,” Prateek Kumar, the Patna resident, said.

Some of the supporters were found distributing sweets among the visitors and passersby. Petals of marigold flowers were being spread in front of the Circular Road residence.

Shivanand Tiwary, national vice-president of RJD, was one of the visitors waiting there to receive Mr. Prasad. “It is really a moment of celebration that the party supremo has returned to Bihar after a long gap. His presence in his own State gives another level of energy to RJD workers and supporters,” he said.

RJD MLA Bhai Birendra said, “The BJP leaders are in panic now after the arrival of Lalu ji in Patna. [As long as he is in Bihar,] the saffron leaders would be suffocating. He is here to meet his well-wishers and also to plan the strategy to unite the Opposition at national level.”

On the other hand, BJP State unit president Samrat Choudhary said that Mr. Prasad’s presence in Bihar will not make any difference.

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